At least four persons were injured in attacks by stray dogs in Magam and Chowgul villages of Handwara in this northern Kashmir district.
In Magam, a stray dog attacked three people including motherand her son when they were walking on the road. Another man was bitten by astray dog in Chogal area of Handwara.
Three of the injured were identified as Naseema Begum,Zubair Bashir and Kashif Bashir, all residents of Magam.
The canine population has seen increase in different areasof this northern Kashmir district including Lolab, Mawer Handwara, Kralpora andTrehgam, in recent months.
Adding to the victims' woes the district hospital Kupwara iswithout Anti-Rabies Vaccines (ARV) for the last five months while assub-district hospital Kupwara is out of stock for the last one year.
Owing to non-availability of vacancies in government-runhospitals the victims had to get themselves treated in private hospitals athigh rates.
An official in SDH Kupwara said no vaccine supplies havebeen sent to them for one year. During this period, he said more than 1500cases of dog bites were registered at the hospital.
During May and June alone more than 250 dog bites cases werereported at the hospital, indicating a rise in canine attack cases in Kupwara.
At an average, the official said three to five dog-bitecases are received at the SDH Kupwara every day. "But we feel helpless as theyare forced to procure vaccine from open market at high rates," he said.
Chief Medical Officer Kupwara Parladh Singh did not respondto repeated calls from Greater Kashmir for his comments on the issue.